Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Traditions

This week c's kindergarten teacher sent home a note asking families to share a holiday tradition with his class. It got me thinking about our family traditions during the Christmas season. Here's just a few:
  • I spy a Christmas ornament - this tradition is actually the one I'm going to share with C's class. This tradition was started with my family growing up. We kids would spend hours looking at the Christmas tree. We'd pick an ornament and describe it and the other kids would try to guess which ornament it was. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas for me without this game.
  • Christmas Devotional - Every year we watch the first presidency Christmas devotional on the First Sunday of December. It helps us get into the true spirit of Christmas. You can find the broadcast here.
  • Christmas Advent Calendar - We had an advent calendar growing up that had strings to tie pieces of candy. Every day we would take turns picking a candy off of the tree. I remember when it was my day, being so happy and excited. It made the Christmas countdown extra special for us. My mom passed down the advent calendar to me so now our family gets to enjoy the same tradition.
  • Christmas advent story book - This is another tradition along the same lines. We have a book that has a Christmas story for every night leading up until Christmas. It's another fun way to get into the Christmas spirit. Some years we get into this one more than others.
  • Nativity Scenes - these have always been a very important part of our holiday traditions. One year someone gave our family a crocheted set. That year we started a new tradition. We played "Hide the baby Jesus". We would take turns hiding the baby and said "hot" when the finders were close and "cold" when they were far away. This always made Christmas so special for us.
  • Christmas Eve - our Christmas Eve tradition for as long as I can remember has been to act out the Nativity story while someone read it from the scriptures. I love this tradition and we continue to do it in our family every year.
  • Christmas Magic - We started a new family tradition this year. We told the kids about how Christmas magic happens when you serve those around you. To illustrate the point, we did a family service activity and then told the kids the Christmas magic happened and we set up the Christmas tree and put on the lights. Then we gave each person in our family a box of ornaments to put on the tree. Every day each person in our family looks for something they can do to help someone. That night at family scriptures each person tells what they did and they get to put up an ornament on the tree. So far it's been really fun and we've had service things like giving someone a hug, helping someone clean their room, making someone's bed, helping someone up who has fallen down, etc. We also list the service things on a yellow star and hang them on a small tree. The Christmas magic is definitely happening and it's a fun way for the kids to see that. At the end when all the ornaments are on the tree we're going to do a secret family service activity and then put the star on the top. Then when that happens we told the kids the tree would be accepting gifts under it. :)
Well there's a few of our favorite family traditions. I'd love to hear some of yours. What makes Christmas special for you?